I am choosing to stay United Methodist for several reasons:
- Members and congregations can exist with differences – reasonable people can disagree and my faith grows as we share our differences. John Wesley said ““Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” We are united as children of God.
- The United Methodist Church through UMCOR and Global Ministries impact lives all over the world. Sometimes these ministries help in our local communities, in our districts, Conference and in all the world as we share our resources equipping and transforming people and places for God’s mission.
- I have always loved that the United Methodist Church has open communion – some denominations only allow members to participate in communion.
- Baptism – is available at any age because we recognize baptism is the work of God not the individual.
- The UMC promotes clergy and laity working together at all levels.
- Itinerary with our clergy – I have learned from the best, not just one clergy person like some other denominations.
- The United Methodist Church has afforded me the opportunity to grow in my faith through Lay Servant Ministry. The various classes offered equipped me to serve God in my local church, community and beyond for the greater good. I am thankful for the leadership opportunities I have had to serve God and God’s people in my local congregation, the Caney Fork River District and the TWK Conference. These training courses have also led me to make myself available to our District to fill pulpits when needed.
I would like to end with a story. Once a long time ago I considered leaving the UMC. I was struggling with a controversy at the local church I was attending. One Sunday I visited a different denomination with my friend. Things were very nice. You know sometimes if we just go to church for one hour a week, things go pretty smoothly. But if you are like me and like to get involved there may be obstacles along the way. I heard God in my knower (that is how God speaks to me, I just know) that if I got involved at another church there probably would be other obstacles. I heard God saying, “You could start a church; the Church of Holly Neal. It would have one member (Holly) and you would not be able to keep yourself happy all the time. Since that time I have never thought of leaving the denomination again.
I truly believe we are better together. United Methodist are not perfect people, but we value Scripture and encourage each other to be all God is calling us to be.